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Old April 4th, 2007, 09:01 PM   #2601
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Originally Posted by scottbbfm View Post
Its a paradox! Anyone have any good ways to fix this??
Scrappier restauranteurs.
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Old April 4th, 2007, 09:11 PM   #2602
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Its a paradox! Anyone have any good ways to fix this??
Demolish low density row houses and replace it with mid-rise mixed use.

People should be able to live, work, and play all within walking distance. Otherwise you just have suburbs in the city (which I think Canton and Fed Hill are to a certain degree). Now I'm not suggesting that we demolish tracks of successful rowhouse rehabs; but rather, when we have the opportunity to replace low density with higher density, we jump on it. Even if it does mean a 95 foot structure. People don't want higher density because they worry about traffic and parking. But the funny thing is that with appropriately zoned high density, people tend to drive less!
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Old April 4th, 2007, 10:50 PM   #2603
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Is this the restaurant where you have to ring the doorbell for someone to come let you in?
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Old April 4th, 2007, 11:45 PM   #2604
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Is this the restaurant where you have to ring the doorbell for someone to come let you in?
Right (the first link). Ask for Morris. For the second, it helps to know Jack.

Elsby.

The owner.
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Old April 4th, 2007, 11:59 PM   #2605
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City offers west-side parcel for redevelopment
Officials hope to continue momentum for superblock revitalization project

By Lorraine Mirabella
Sun Reporter
Originally published April 4, 2007, 3:38 PM EDT
After reaching agreements with two developers of the long-stalled superblock project on Baltimore's west side, the city today said it is offering an additional superblock parcel, now parking lots and vacant buildings, for redevelopment in hopes of continuing momentum in revitalizing the deteriorated stretch of downtown.

The Baltimore Development Corp. is seeking proposals to redevelop eight parcels in a block bounded by Park Avenue on the west, Clay Street on the north, North Liberty Street on the east and W. Lexington Street on the south. The development site does not include a row of stores in that block of West Lexington, which will remain intact with the current or new merchants, the BDC said.





The BDC had offered the same site as part of its 2003 request for proposals for the entire superblock, which is viewed as a critical link in the city's west-side revitalization. But the city never awarded the site for redevelopment because it failed to draw a strong enough proposal, said M.J. "Jay" Brodie, BDC president.

The city at that time awarded the bulk of the superblock project to a team now called Lexington Square Partners LLC. But the plans for 400 to 500 market-rate apartments, 200,000 square feet of retail space and parking in an area bounded by Howard, West Lexington, Liberty and West Fayette streets had stalled as the city was unable to acquire the property, in part because of a dispute over properties owned by the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, one of the area's biggest landowners.

In January, the city's Board of Estimates agreed to sell 37 properties to Lexington Square for $21.6 million. And last week, city and Weinberg Foundation officials agreed to a land swap deal to resolve the land dispute and enable the foundation and Baltimore-based developer Cordish Co. to proceed with redeveloping a block on the north side of West Lexington Street.

"All of those are pieces that hopefully make the time right to put out for a second time this offering of city-owned properties," acquired in 2000 and 2001, Brodie said. "This is another step forward."

The city hopes for a mix of uses on the block, such as housing above a garage with some ground floor retail. Developers could either retain or raze the three vacant buildings on a site made up mostly of parking lots leased by Central Parking System of Maryland.

"The basic thrust of the west side has been an urban neighborhood with a lot of housing and more quality retail," Brodie said. "But if folks have other ideas, they should feel free to tell us what they might be."

Developers' proposals are due to BDC Aug. 1.

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Old April 5th, 2007, 12:08 AM   #2606
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Heard/Saw some bad news yesterday...

The Park Side Restaurant along the eastern edge of Patterson Park along Baltimore St closed a month or so ago. Although I never went, I heard it got good reviews and was nice inside. Supposedly they were not able to draw anyone from outside the neighborhood due to the stigma that the corner is still bad news. Additionally the neighborhood was just not dense enough to support such a place.

I think B'more density is a very difficult and unique situation. It has a relatively low population density when compared to the density of land used for housing. Baltimore clearly doesn't like height. I'm not talking 20 or 30 stories, I'm talking 8-13stories, low rise stuff (95 ft lets say). Because of that, the neighborhoods don't have the population to support many restaurants and other small shops that should garner most of their business from customers living in walking distance. This cuts down on walking traffic, making the streets just a little more desserted and thus dangerous.

On the other-hand nearly all the land is occupied by row houses, parking is tough to come by or expensive so it is nearly impossible to attract sufficient business from people having to drive to your location outside of the set retail districts.

Its a paradox! Anyone have any good ways to fix this??
That's a lot of conclusions to draw from a single restaurant closing. I'm not an experienced restauranteur, but there are more than enough people in that area to support a nice restarant. Maybe they spent all their money on the fancy spiral staircase to the rooftop deck they couldn't use in winter????

This place had plenty of parking cause it was right next to the park--several blocks with no houses tends to create massive amounts of parking. The only time there isn't any is when the fields are full of softball/football/kickball teams. Maybe if they had hooked up with that league, it would have saved them? Was this place trying to be a restaurant or a bar? I always saw happy hour specials posted when I drove by.

There are many places along Eastern Ave in Highlandtown that don't seem to be struggling. And that area is on par with any corner of Patterson Park, in terms of safety (i've never had a problem, but I could see outside folks being leery). Same with my neck of the woods in Greektown. All those restaurants and other shops seem to be doing Ok. Parking is a bit of an issue, but more for residents than those that are coming to eat and shop. And even then, you go two blocks and there are places without houses and there are always spaces there.

The question is, is a better to have low rise that is pretty much filled, as opposed to mid-rise which may only be halfway full? Or, what happens to the land row houses occupy when you start condensing people into mid-rises? Does it become urban prarie like Detroit or something similar? I don't see how someone can confuse row houses in Baltimore with the suburbs.
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Old April 5th, 2007, 12:10 AM   #2607
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Originally Posted by jpreston02 View Post
Demolish low density row houses and replace it with mid-rise mixed use.
Balto's done that intermittently since the end of the 19th, starting with the Severn Apts. on the NE corner of Cathedral and W. Mt. Vernon Place. Results have been mixed to poor, e.g. a decade or so before David Hillman revived it, the building on the SE corner of Park and Centre was so bad the Guardian Angels moved in. Sutton Place in Bolton Hill cleared a half block of rowhouses, but it's a blight on a beautiful skyline punctuated by the domes of the Prince Hall Masonic Lodge on Eutaw Place, the tower of the former B&O Station across from the Lyric, and the spire of Corpus Christi Church on Mt. Royal. Chase and St. Paul and Horizon House in NE Mt. Vernon have been more successful, but the street life around there is non-existent. Street life on Pennsylvania Ave above Lafayette Market is much more vibrant, although this may have something to do with that.
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Old April 5th, 2007, 01:10 AM   #2608
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Originally Posted by jamie_hunt View Post
Right (the first link). Ask for Morris. For the second, it helps to know Jack.

Elsby.

The owner.
I heard from a friend that that Martick's was a speakeasy during prohibition owned by Morris's, the current owner, mother. I also heard that Morris's mother, in fact, gave birth to him on the floor of that very restaurant. I'm assuming this is why he refuses to move the restaurant from that location. This is where my memory gets a little hazy, but I vaguely remember that he, although not of French ancestry, learned to cook French cuisine and converted his mother's speakeasy into a French restaurant. But it's the restaurant's history from the prohibition years that is the reason that you still have to ring the doorbell to get in. Can you confirm any of this, Jamie?
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Old April 5th, 2007, 01:47 AM   #2609
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I heard that JHU has broken ground on the second building in there massive east side project. Anyone got pics?
Well, I'm on spring break, so went to check it out.

Here is the first building:


This is the only other thing going up now. It is senior housing.


Ther is a lot of room for new construction!


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Old April 5th, 2007, 02:03 AM   #2610
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hey all...
i served my yearly jury duty today. while taking a walk around the cbd at lunch i noticed that the building on the north east corner of charles and fayette is being gutted. this may have been known as the jefferson building, but i'm not sure. its relatively non-descript...perhaps 5 or 6 stories. anyone know whats happening there?
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Old April 5th, 2007, 02:06 AM   #2611
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Baltimore Density/Parkside

One doesn't need that much density to support a restaurant.

Retail yes, food, no.

Baltimore (City) is quite dense by American standards, unquestionably, and ALWAYS has been.

However, I've made the argument before about lifestyle changes regarding the fact that people tend to prefer more space now and generally have more money now than before WWII. People also had more children way back when. Rowhouses (pre-Daylight type) provided more than enough density in the past to support just about anything. Not so anymore, necessarily. The large, wealthy houses can still be broken into apartments with a homeowner occupant to provide the needed density.

The Patterson Park area is plenty dense for a basic supplies retail strip. There isn't one in the neighborhood, but a couple within a 5-8 minute walk. I advocate very limited new construction of rowhomes in the Old City limits. We need to offer more choices like apartment/condo buildings. 3-6 story walk-up and 4 story, 2-family duplexes to acheive housing diversity and density (and more park/public space!).

Nate
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Old April 5th, 2007, 02:07 AM   #2612
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Originally Posted by quabex View Post
hey all...
i served my yearly jury duty today. while taking a walk around the cbd at lunch i noticed that the building on the north east corner of charles and fayette is being gutted. this may have been known as the jefferson building, but i'm not sure. its relatively non-descript...perhaps 5 or 6 stories. anyone know whats happening there?
Hotel, I believe. Formerly going to be apartments or condos.

It should be more than 5 or 6 stories, though.

Nate
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Old April 5th, 2007, 02:16 AM   #2613
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According to the Downtown Partnership.

CVS Pharmacy will open at Harbor East later this year on the corner of Fleet and Exeter Streets.

Nate

(Fells Point still needs its own pharmacy, which I believe they still lack after the Broadway fire).
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Old April 5th, 2007, 03:30 AM   #2614
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excellent pics, huck!!!
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Old April 5th, 2007, 02:02 PM   #2615
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I'm self respecting Baltimorean (in good standing too!) and I shop at Harborplace all the time. In fact, I like it.

There is a new zoning notice on the garage that Mercy will demolish on Calvert Street seeking a conditional use permit to use the land as a Hospital.

Now that CVS is coming to Harbor East, I wonder where the drug store in the Mechanic Theater will be moving to? The article a few months back they said the new location would be close to the current one. I think this store is a Rite Aid but I'm not sure.

For years the Peanut Shop traded on Lexington Mall near Liberty Street. They moved to the Mechanic Theater when their location was condemned for the Super Block development. Looks like they will have to move again. I hope they don't close!

The sooner the 600 block of Broadway gets redeveloped, the better. It's looking very seedy now.

How 'bout those O's hon.

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Old April 5th, 2007, 02:13 PM   #2616
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British Airways BWI subsidy

From today's Baltimore Sun:


Maryland
British Airways BWI subsidy OK'd
Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport received approval yesterday from the state Board of Public Works to pay its marquee international carrier, British Airways, a subsidy of up to $5.5 million a year for the next two years. The subsidy would only apply if the carrier doesn't realize a rate of return from its daily flight from Baltimore to London's Heathrow of 10 percent. Two years ago, when a subsidy was first offered, BWI owed $3.3 million. Last year's subsidy has not been determined. British Airways is the only airline offered such a payment, and airport officials say the carrier's economic impact far outweighs the subsidy's cost. Under a new agreement with state officials, who criticized the airport's past secrecy on the subsidy, BWI agreed to seek board approval and provide more information to lawmakers.
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Old April 5th, 2007, 02:22 PM   #2617
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WEST SIDE PAY OFF!

Behind the Scenes: How a Touring House Season is Created


Wednesday, April 4, 2007; Posted: 5:20 PM - by James Howard





The news wasn't even twelve hours old when BroadwayWorld readers started talking about the pros and cons of the Baltimore Hippodrome 2007 – 2008 season. Last Thursday, in a special unveiling for group sales leaders and select members of the press, stars from Avenue Q on Broadway sang and announced the line up for next year. Some readers were ok with the news, others highly disappointed. To an extent, disappointment was inevitable after the nearly unparalleled season we had this year. A few of you speculated about what happened behind the scenes. Well, I went directly to the source to get your questions answered and to put to rest some uninformed speculation.

Marks Chowning, the Vice-President and Executive Director of the France-Merrick Performing Arts Center, which includes the Hippodrome, took time from his busy schedule to answer a few questions.

James Howard (JH): When putting together a season of shows for Baltimore, what are your chief considerations for selecting shows?

Marks Chowning (MC): The biggest consideration is given to trying to book the most current product possible. With Baltimore being so close to New York, many of the more devoted theatre fans often times will go to New York to see shows, but by us booking the freshest product available, we hope to instill in our audiences that we will have the freshest product as soon as it tours. Secondly, I attempt to balance musicals against plays. If you look back over the past few seasons, we will always try to have at least one play, if not two. The difficulty here is that not all that many plays tour, and in the case of the current season, we have both of the plays that are on the road, and unfortunately won't have any next season as no new play is going out.

JH: The size and modern technology aspects of the Hippodrome certainly must appeal to the larger touring shows, like The Phantom of the Opera, The Lion King and Wicked. What has been their reaction to working in Baltimore, and do you see much more of that kind of show coming in the future?

MC: Well, as you know, Baltimore has a rich history with theatre. In its heyday, the Mechanic had the largest subscription in the country at about 22,000. But, as the shows got bigger, the Mechanic, for both technical and economic factors, became less desirable and in some cases inadequate for the larger shows. That was one the primary factors in deciding to renovate the Hippodrome. With regards to what the shows think, they love it! A big stage, lots of dressing rooms, easy loading, and a market that is once again coming into its own. It is a strong statement when Disney chooses Baltimore over Washington D.C. to host the regional premiere of The Lion King, and an even stronger statement that we sold out 14 weeks of the show.

JH: Shows like Wicked have opted for big city sit downs, then launching major tours. Do you foresee Baltimore ever being a part of that?

MC: I think it is possible, but not likely. I say that because of our proximity to New York and Washington D.C. Even a market like Boston, that has a long tradition of being a theatre town, doesn't get sit-down long runs like Chicago, Los Angeles or Toronto. What we are aggressively doing, though, is lobbying producers to start National Tours in Baltimore or hosting a pre-Broadway engagement, which is the next best thing. Over the last 4 years, we opened the Hairspray tour, hosted the pre-Broadway engagement of The Graduate and opened The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee tour.

JH: What do you think makes Baltimore an attractive place for such a launch? Will Baltimore be playing host to similar tour launches in the future?

MC: What makes Baltimore attractive is a threefold issue. First, we are now one of the largest subscription markets in the United States, with over 13,800 subscribers. That means we can show Producers a good deal of guaranteed ticket sales right off the bat. Secondly, for an East Coast market, Baltimore is relatively affordable market in which to do business in when compared to Washington D.C., Philadelphia or Boston. It is just less expensive to do business here. Finally, Baltimore has a strong history as a theatre town, and Producers know that.

JH: In the 1980's Baltimore was known for having a huge subscription base and much longer runs of all of the shows. Many Broadway shows had their pre-Broadway tryouts here. Do you think that kind of show could make a comeback to our city?

MC: We are always looking for these types of opportunities and have recently hosted the pre-Broadway engagement of The Graduate. But, the reality is that fewer and fewer shows are doing out of town tryouts these days due to costs associated with them, as well as the concern Producers have of critics reviewing shows prior to their official opening.

JH: One pictures all of the people in your similar position selecting shows much like an NFL draft! What exactly is the process for show selection and booking, considering that dozens of theatres are all vying for the same 15-20 shows?

MC: Well, honestly, it comes down primarily to three factors – routing, spacing and theatre availability. Obviously shows can't all be in any given market at the same time (or not at least in most markets), so they pick a starting point and start working from there. In a perfect world, you space the shows out evenly over the season, but that gets adjusted somewhat based on the routing and what other activity a venue might have. A perfect example this season was Sweeney Todd. I really wanted to book the show, but when they were on the East Coast, I didn't have time in the theatre available.

JH: To what extent do presenters influence what shows go where?

MC: Presenters have an influence, but market size plays a larger roll. Producers tend to want to play the primary and larger secondary markets early, where subscription numbers are larger and theatre is more popular. That also gives them the ability to come back and do a repeat 18 to 24 months later, while the show is still fresh.

JH: Recent surveys suggest that theatre audiences are getting younger, and that younger people with disposable income are buying more and more of the tickets. Is that trend true for Baltimore? How does this effect show choices?

MC: I think that audiences are getting younger in some respects. It seems what influences this is a shift in the nature of what shows are currently, meaning that source material is more suited to a younger audience (e.g. Mamma Mia, The Wedding Singer, The Color Purple, etc.). This has little or no bearing on what shows we present. There is a limited universe of product available each season, and we work to provide the most current product possible based on what we feel will be most appealing overall to the Baltimore audiences and what we feel will sell tickets.

JH: How does Baltimore's proximity to Washington, DC figure into shows playing both cities and for how long? I'm thinking Spamalot, Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Lion King, etc.

MC: The biggest factor in shows playing Washington D.C. versus Baltimore is really driven by the availability of a venue in either market when compared to the shows routing. Longer run engagements in D.C. are typically limited the summer due to the fact that the venue of choice in D.C. is the Kennedy Center, which has limited availability September to May due to the volume of other programming presented there. [There are also] the economic factors discussed [earlier].

JH: As you prepare for the Hippodrome's 4th Broadway Across America season in 2007 -2008, what are you most pleased with in terms of the health and use of the facility? What do you hope to see for the future of the Hippodrome?

MC: I think we are most pleased that the venue has been so well accepted by the community. It was somewhat of a risk undertaking this project when looking at the location issue, but based on the fact that at the end of 2006 we had had about 1,000,000 patrons attend events in the complex, I don't think that has really turned out to be an issue. Regarding the future, we just want to continue to bring the best offerings possible to Baltimore and continue to diversify the programming mix.

Thank you, Mr. Chowning, for your time and information.
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Old April 5th, 2007, 02:34 PM   #2618
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Baltimore region ranks among nation’s top 50 for growth

by Matthew Santoni, The Examiner

BALTIMORE (Map, News) - The Baltimore area ranked among the top 50 gainers of population since the 2000 census, thanks mostly to growth in suburban counties, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. “We have experienced steady growth since the beginning of the decade,” said Dunbar Brooks, a demographer with the Baltimore Metropolitan Council. “In part it’s because of our proximity to Washington, D.C., but we have a strong economy, too.”

The Baltimore metro region — defined by the census as Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, Howard and Queen Anne’s counties — ranked 34th out of 361 metropolitan areas for overall growth since the last census. The area gained approximately 105,000 residents between 2000 and 2006, for a total population of about 2.7 million.

But that was in terms of sheer numbers. Stated as a percentage, Baltimore’s 4.1 percent growth didn’t even make the top 100.

Washington’s metropolitan area, which includes parts of Northern Virginia and the Maryland suburbs, ranked eighth in both overall population and percentage growth since 2000, Census Bureau spokesman Robert Bernstein said. Among the suburbs, Howard County grew nearly 10 percent to 272,000 people, while Anne Arundel increased 4 percent to 509,000.

“That’s clearly what we call the Washington spillover effect,” Brooks said. However, the biggest gainers were in the outlying suburbs: Harford, Carroll and Queen Anne’s. All had increases in the double digits, which Brooks attributed to the continuing outward migration of population from Baltimore.

The city itself had a minor decrease of about 3 percent, down to an estimated 631,000 residents, but officials have been challenging the annual estimates and adjusting them upward since the 2000 census. By its own estimates, the city remains at a plateau.

Baltimore’s relatively low housing prices continue to attract people from D.C., Brooks said, while economic growth makes the region a draw in and of itself. Growth centered around military bases in Harford and Anne Arundel — estimated to bring an additional 45,000 new jobs to the state — will increase the region’s pull. “As long as the economy’s robust, we’ll continue to be a magnet,” he said. “Our metro area is really becoming a center in itself of homeland security operations, independent of Washington.”

Estimated change since 2000 census:

» Anne Arundel County: +19,644 (4 percent) to 509,300

» Baltimore County: +33,092 (4.4 percent) to 787,384

» Baltimore City: -19,788 (-3 percent) to 631,366

» Carroll County: +19,363 (12.8 percent) to 170,260

» Harford County: +22,812 (10.4 percent) to 241,402

» Howard County: +24,610 (9.9 percent) to 272,452

» Queen Anne’s County: +5,678 (14 percent) to 46,241

While they don't say so here, I'll be very surprised if York County Pennsylvania, and possibly Adam's County, aren't added to the Baltimore Region after the next census. 2006 Estimates:

York County: 416,322

Adams County: 101,105

Last edited by 30 Floors Up; April 5th, 2007 at 04:04 PM.
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Old April 5th, 2007, 03:34 PM   #2619
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 30 Floors Up View Post
Baltimore region ranks among nation’s top 50 for growth

by Matthew Santoni, The Examiner

BALTIMORE (Map, News) - The Baltimore area ranked among the top 50 gainers of population since the 2000 census, thanks mostly to growth in suburban counties, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. “We have experienced steady growth since the beginning of the decade,” said Dunbar Brooks, a demographer with the Baltimore Metropolitan Council. “In part it’s because of our proximity to Washington, D.C., but we have a strong economy, too.”
so, ya' see BalWash, this proves that we don't have to depend on D.C. as much as you think we do after all.
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Old April 5th, 2007, 03:36 PM   #2620
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I heard from a friend that that Martick's was a speakeasy during prohibition owned by Morris's, the current owner, mother. I also heard that Morris's mother, in fact, gave birth to him on the floor of that very restaurant. I'm assuming this is why he refuses to move the restaurant from that location. This is where my memory gets a little hazy, but I vaguely remember that he, although not of French ancestry, learned to cook French cuisine and converted his mother's speakeasy into a French restaurant. But it's the restaurant's history from the prohibition years that is the reason that you still have to ring the doorbell to get in. Can you confirm any of this, Jamie?
That sounds right. Also allows Morris to screen for shady characters, who, according to folks who work at the Pratt up the street, abound in that area.

VH1 has Behind the Music . The History Channel should broadcast "Behind the Buildings."
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